Pro Tips From Central Florida Sod & Turf Experts

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What is Bermuda Grass?

Aug 28, 2012 | Turfgrass Products

Many people have heard of Bermuda grass, but are unsure what it is. Bermuda grass is actually a common term for cynodon dactylon, or durva grass. It is sometimes also called Bahama grass, devil’s grass, crutch grass, or dog’s tooth grass, depending on the part of the world. It is native to north and east Asia, Africa, Australia, and southern Europe. Since then it became an invasive species in Bermuda, taking up much of the lands, and giving it its common nickname as it came to North America from there.

Bermuda grass is characterized by its grey-green color, with blades that are short – usually less than an inch to 6 inches – and rough on the edges. Stems in the grass can grow up to 12 inches tall, and are slightly flattened and purple. The grass is known for creeping slowly into a territory, and rooting wherever its node touches the ground and reproducing via a system of seeds, runners, and rhizomes. Once it has entered an area and begun to reproduce, it forms a dense mat of grass. 

Growth of Bermuda grass can begin at temperatures about 59 degrees F, but its optimal growth occurs between 75 and 99 degrees. It usually becomes dormant in the winter, and can turn brown if it gets too cold, and it is also known for needing full sunlight.

Bermuda grass might not be the perfect choice for your front lawn, but it is a great option when it comes to commercial properties. There are genetically modified strains of Bermuda grass, such as Tifway 419, that have been made specifically for commercial landscapes. Tifway 419 Bermudagrass was developed in Tifton, Georgia during the 1960s at a turf breeding program, and is known for being very dense and aggressive, taking hold well in high traffic areas where the grass can receive a lot of wear. Unlike other natural Bermuda grasses, it has a higher cold tolerance as well, making it perfect for sports fields of golf courses that are used year round.

Celebration Bermudagrass is another hybrid of Bermuda grass that is sold by Lake Jem Farms, bred for its dark blue-green color, and adaptability to moderate shade, which help make it more aesthetically pleasing. It is popular along with Tifway 419 for sports fields, as it has great strength, wearability, and drought tolerance.